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Web sites offer neighborhood crime statistics

Source: Star-Telegram.Com
By Mark Thompson
Date: October 04, 2003

Internet crime Residents in several area cities can learn what crimes are occurring in their neighborhoods by logging on to their computers, police spokesmen said. The Denton Police Department added a crime map to its Web site in late July, joining Euless and Irving in offering the service. Several other area cities, including Bedford and Keller, offer crime statistics without maps.

Many times, people benefit from the extra knowledge, police said.
"If you know what's going on around you, you are less likely to become a victim," Irving police spokesman David Tull said. Denton receives many requests for crime statistics on specific areas, police spokesman Jim Bryan said. Many come from families considering a move to Denton and from parents of college students planning to attend classes there, Bryan said.

"We try to answer their questions," Bryan said. But it typically takes a police employee a week to 10 days because of a backlog of requests, he said. People with computers can access the same monthly information in minutes, Bryan said. Irving started a computer program in January that provides information based on addresses and ZIP codes, Tull said. Crime information from Irving is updated each weekday and dates back about a year. Older statistics have not been loaded online, Tull said.

Denton updates police incidents about once a month, with records dating back about 2? years, Bryan said. Euless started offering a crime map Web site this year and updates the information each month, police Lt. Steve Kockos said.

Like many area police departments, Euless continues to email neighborhood crime information to people who request it, but people often change their email addresses and it is hard to keep contact lists up-to-date, Kockos said. Providing timely information online helps eliminate that problem, he said.
Bedford does not provide Internet crime mapping, but its police Web site includes daily updates of where and when crimes occur, police administrative manager Kelli Agan said. "It's providing the exact same thing without a map," she said. But crime mapping would help Bedford citizens who want to see where incidents occur, Agan said. "We would like to have it," she said.

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